Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread

The final countdown is here and it’s currently T minus 8 days until the Little Guy’s due date. I’m both antsy for him to get here and freaked out that he’s going to get here before I’ve finished everything I want to do; as if it’s the end of the world.

One thing I did want to do was bake and a few weeks ago I took some time and did just that. I thoroughly enjoyed dusting off the KitchenAid and getting my hands back into the sugar and flour and what do you know; it’s felt familiar and really good.

This recipe for Cinnamon Sugar Blueberry Banana Bread from Crazy for Crust was just what the Doctor ordered and it came out exactly as I had hoped.

Moist and crunchy on the top this bread make for the perfect breakfast treat and not that it needs it but maybe next time time I’ll toss it a smidgen of lemon zest, extract or juice to give it a little extra pop.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Cravings

One of the questions that you get asked the most when you’re pregnant is, “Do you have any food cravings?” Generally my answer is, “No” because I really I don’t but as it’s gotten too tough for me to be on my swollen, sausage-like feet I crave baked goods. I crave them like an addict; all the time and any time and I’m taking this as a sign that I need to make time to get back in the kitchen and bake a few treats of my own.

Surprise! Look at what dusted off last Friday and puffy, kankle feet be damned.

Yours Truly,
Mel


Irish Apple Cake

For St. Patrick’s Day most households might make corned beef and cabbage to celebrate the holiday but what about dessert? No one ever mentions desserts and that got me wondering what exactly is a traditional Irish dessert?

A quick search later and I had my answer; an apple cake. Somewhere between a crumb cake and a crisp this Irish Apple Cake from Sue of The View from the Great Island was fairly quick to put together (a sure fire way for a recipe to land in my regular rotation) and really tasty especially when you add a little drizzle of the custard sauce on top.

As separates they’re yummy but together everything is mouth watering.

Don’t fret, St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until next Tuesday so you have time for a trip over the weekend to the grocery store to stock up and make this. It’s worth it, I promise.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Chinese New Year – Almond Cookies

Once a year my Mother’s side of the family get’s together in San Francisco; (have I even mentioned that I’m half Chinese?) and we celebrate the Chinese New Year. We always go to the same restaurant, The Eight Immortals because my Grandparents love it and even though they’re gone my Grandma’s youngest Brother still keep up with the tradition.

The kids always get lai see (red envelopes), my Mom gives out little bags of candy with dried coconut (a personal favorite) and pineapple cakes and I always give out a little something to all of the Elders. This year See’s was out since our local shops decided not to carry any little boxes of chocolate in red paper and I was tired of giving ferrero rocher.

To change it up I thought it would be nice to make some Almond Cookies and give those away. It’s a little bit more of a heartfelt gesture and seriously who doesn’t love freshly make cookies in a sea of pre-packaged treats? After consulting my good friend the internet I decided upon THIS recipe, submitted by Member #610488 from Food.com since I had all the ingredients on hand and it promised to make a bunch.

Not only did my Mom tell me that this recipe was a keeper but several of the relatives, whom I’m sure have had their share of Almond Cookies, told me they were quite tasty. The Husband also gave his seal of approval and said that they didn’t have the almond meal/grainy texture of store-bought cookies and he’s happily munch on the extras.

I love it when a recipe knocks it out of the park, don’t you?

Gong Hey Fat Choy or Happy New Year Everyone!

Yours Truly,

Mel


Valentine’s Day

Say what you will about Valentine’s Day but for the last decade I’ve been a fan. Not because I buy into all the flowers, romantic dinner out for two or the chocolate but because I like to take one day and completely indulge myself and my love for baking.

It’s one of the few days a year when I can just ignore the guilt I usually feel when I get into one of my baking modes and I just go. Overboard, maybe but no one was complaining.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Yours Truly,

Mel


Seattle Trip – High 5 Pie

Last week The Husband and I took what will probably be out last flight before baby and visited my youngest Sister in Seattle. It wasn’t a long trip, just 4 days but it was chock-full of good eats and lots of walking and I finally, FINALLY got to try this pie place that she’s been telling me about since she started at Seattle University back in September.

High 5 Pie is a true pie lover’s paradise and the decor is kind of retro-chic. Not only are they pie slices very generous but each one is handmade and they’re super tasty; definitely worth my months long wait. They had your usual fare of banana cream, cherry, salted caramel pear but the minute I saw the Bumbleberry (a mix of blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries) I had to try it and it was spot on and berry heaven. Also, apparently the crust is the owner, Dani’s Grandmother’s butter crust recipe and I had no complaints; it was flaky, buttery and delicious.

The Husband and my Sister both went for the banana cream and it was so rich that both were hard-pressed to finish it and I was quite happy to swoop in and take one for the team.

Too bad we were just visiting because I’d be all over their crust making classes, seeing as to how that’s one thing that I’m very hit or miss with and probably a regular here.

If I have you salivating I’m sorry to say they’re only based in Seattle but according to yelp, Heidi’s Pies in San Mateo, CA is supposed to be renowned for their banana cream and blueberry sour cream pies.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Crazy for Peanut Butter

We’ve been a little peanut butter crazy at our house for the last few days and by we, I mean me. Blame it on the hormones but peanut butter and me have been BFFs since the beginning of my pregnancy. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, peanut butter on toast, peanut butter with apples it’ll all tasty.

Of course I can’t ignore how wonderfully peanut butter pairs with desserts and that’s why I whipped up these two recipes last night.

I started with these Peanut Butter Marbled Brownies by Robyn of Add A Pinch and while they were baking I got to to work on these Traditional Peanut Butter Cookies from 12 Tomatoes.

I was a pretty huge fan of the soft and chewy texture of the cookies and The Husband gladly helped himself to a brownie with a side of milk so I’d say that the desserts were a success.

 

Try your hand at them and tell me which one you fancy more.

Yours Truly,

Mel


When Your Tree Gives you Lemons…

Yesterday morning as The Husband and I were taking the dog for a quick walk around the block he mentioned that our lemon tree was chock full of lemons and they were ripe NOW. My first reaction was excitement because yeah, we (and I mean The Husband) was able to bring the tree back from the brink and secondly lemon desserts because that’s just how my mind operates.

As images of lemon bars, lemon bread, lemon cookies and more swam through my head I got giddy and then because hello pregnancy I got tired just thinking about all that extra work after a full day of real work.

Lucky for me it’s the weekend starting tomorrow and I can’t wait to get my baking back on.

As fate would have it this morning Facebook greeted me with a lemon bread recipe so on the “To Make List”, are some of these tasty looking treats from Averie Cooks.

The Best Lemon Loaf This loaf is made even better since the recipe says you can do it all in one bowl with no mixer; my favorite kind of baking.

Photo courtesy of Averie @ Averie Cooks

Soft and Chewy Lemon Cookies Lemon are fruits so I can at least try and trick myself into thinking that they’re good for me.

Photo courtesy of Averie @ Averie Cooks

The Best Lemon Bars My Mom is a huge fan of lemon bars and a recipe that promises to be both sweet and citrus-y would definitely have her approval.

Photo courtesy of Averie @ Averie Cooks

Averie I can’t wait to roll up my sleeves and get to baking; you’re recipes look so enticing!

I know what I’m up to this weekend; anyone else have any great lemon recipes they’d like to share?

Yours Truly,

Mel


Fuel to Go Muffins

I’m a huge fan of breakfast on the go. In fact lately I’ve been drinking smoothies every morning because they’re easy and delicious but sometime I just want to eat my breakfast and not drink it through a straw.

Enter these Fuel to Go Muffins from Laureen of Art and the Kitchen. The other night I was feeling rather ambitious and after dinner I dug into my fruit and nut stash and tossed these together.

The recipe is easy to assemble in a couple of mixing bowls and is also great because it allowed you to tailor the ingredients to either A) what you have on hand or B) what you can or can’t eat and that’s a huge plus in my book. That’s not even taking into account the fact that these muffins are dense, packed full of all sorts of yumminess and will fend off the hunger monsters for a decent amount of time.

Now mix all your stuff together in stages (per the recipe). I think I added chia seeds, flax and wheat germ in addition to what it called for and omitted the sunflower seeds since I didn’t have any.

Stage 1:

Stage 2:

Stage 3:

Next fill your muffin cups until they’re heaping and I mean really full.

Pop them in the oven and then they should look something like this.

Big, beautiful & moist breakfast muffins. Super tasty.

FYI, this recipe makes 12 muffins so if you have a lot of people in your house you might want to double it.

Yours Truly,

Mel


Holiday Cookie Exchange

I’ve got to apologize for my terrible radio silence this past week. With Christmas in full swing I’ve been so tied up with planning my Company Holiday Party and now my own Holiday Party that I’ve pretty much ignored Fox And A Parasol.

I have however been busy baking some cookies and other tasty treats (as well as re-visiting a few favorites) and I should have some new posts pretty soon.

Speaking of cookies, this year I’m hosting my first ever cookie exchange! I don’t know how I’ve managed to go so long without ever taking part in one of these and while I’m pretty stoked, I’m also a little stumped on what to make.

I’ve got a few ideas but if anyone has a tried and true holiday cookie recipe I’m all ears.

Idea #1: Almond SnowballsMy Recipes

Photo Courtesy of Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Idea #2: Chocolate CrinklesSimply Recipes

Photo Courtesy of Simply Recipes & Garrett McCord

Idea #3: Candy Cane BlossomsBaked Perfection

Photo Courtesy of Risa of Baked Perfection

Yours Truly,

Mel